Welcome to the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted! You’ve received your acceptance letter, your uniform is ironed and ready. Now it’s time to move into your dorm room and attend your classes. Lucky for you, you’re not the only new kid wandering the halls. Rafael Waithe is also new to the world of magic and supernatural creatures. Surprisingly, he takes to it pretty well. His foster-brother and friend Landon Kirby, on the other hand, is a little more reluctant to this side of the world.
The series premiere of Legacies is incredibly fun. It’s the perfect re-introduction to a world that many people know of since Legacies is a spin off of The Originals, which is a spin off of The Vampire Diaries. It is also the perfect introduction to this world for new viewers. The storytelling is accessible for both audiences. The dialogue is current and not in an irritating way. The words the characters, especially the younger ones, are saying are believable and realistic. I don’t appreciate when shows patronize younger characters, so I’m glad this show doesn’t do that.
As a ridiculously avid fan of both of its predecessors, I loved Legacies. Going back to Mystic Falls felt like the warmest hug. It felt like going home. All of the familiar faces, even the ones that changed since the last time I saw them, put the biggest smile on my face. The new characters are smart and interesting and complex. Being the massive fan I am, there are so many things I want to write about. However, I’m going to stick to four major moments and/or themes from the episode. Then I’m going to leave you with a list of smaller moments that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Let’s get into it!
Origins of the Species
“Origins of the Species” is the name of one of the courses offered at the school. It is also a great name for a section of this review discussing the ways Legacies eases lingo and mythology into its dialogue and the bigger structure of the show. As Josie and Lizzie Saltzman take Rafael by the arm and introduce him to this new aspect of the world, they are also introducing the brand-new audience to it as well. It’s a smart technique. Comparatively, Alaric Saltzman is in his office explaining too much to the human named Landon Kirby, knowing Landon will have to be compelled before he leaves the school’s premises. This is also a great method to ease audiences into this world. Just as Landon is taking all of it in, so is the viewer. He’s asking all the questions the viewers have and so on.
Refocusing back on the school, I love the Salvatore school for what it stands for. Josie and Lizzie talk about it a bit during Rafael’s tour. The Salvatore school is really focused on inclusivity and safety. It’s doesn’t exclude or force anyone to view themselves as abnormal or as “the other.” It encourages the kids with supernatural abilities to see the beauty and potential of their gifts, and then helps them to learn how to harness their powers. Being a teenager can be an alienating experience on its own and adding supernatural abilities to that would only enhance it, so it’s nice that Alaric and Caroline Forbes were able to make a school that feels like home for these kids. It’s somewhere for them to go when the rest of the world wants to lock them away, act like they never existed or hunt them down until they don’t. It’s a place where hope and unity are taught rather than fear and hate. That’s important.
The Real Student Aid
One of the characters I’m excited to see more of and learn more about is Milton ‘M.G.’ Gladstone. He is a vampire and a close friend of Josie Saltzman. He likes to talk about vampire representation in popular culture, which I can clearly get behind. He is Alaric Saltzman’s student aid, however, all he seems to do with that title is come in to Ric’s office on demand to compel Landon. I’m sure we’ll see his duty list get longer and longer as the series unfolds.
However, Hope Mikaelson seems to be Alaric’s true student aid. She went with him to rescue Rafael from his foster parents who roped in a priest to pray away the werewolf in their foster son. Hope also goes with Ric to the state lines when Matt Donovan, the Mystic Falls Sheriff, is able to track down the bus that Landon was on. Most of this is probably due to the unique and essentially paternal relationship Ric and Hope have. He watches over her. He uses boxing as a way to have deeper conversations with her. That’s an old ace up the sleeve for Ric. He lets her wolf out in a back field when she needs to unwind. He encourages her to step out of her shell, stop binge-watching cooking shows, and make new friends. It’s nice to see that someone is looking out for her after watching Hope lose both of her parents on The Originals.
Josie and Lizzie’s Relationship
Josie and Lizzie were probably the two characters I was most excited to see. I had seen them at multiple different times in their lives during The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, but this time was different because they’re teenage girls. They’ve grown into their identities and become more than just the daughters of Alaric Saltzman and Caroline Forbes. Yes, their family tree is much more complicated than that. Ric mentioned a bit of it when he was trying to explain to Lizzie why she was prone to outbursts. I’m sure we’ll hear more about the Gemini Coven and their biological mother Jo Laughlin in the future.
Lizzie’s outburst had to be one of my favorite scenes from the premiere. Rafael had just told her that she was one of the types of girls he had vowed to stay away from and Lizzie had enough. She went to the school’s kitchen and magically threw some stuff around the room and a knife at her father’s head. She stopped it before it caused any damage. In this moment, I didn’t know whether to cheer her on because she was hurt and needed to let off some steam or worry about her because it also appeared she didn’t really have control over the tantrum. Ric tries to calm his daughter’s mind with some meditation but Lizzie doesn’t buy into it. Then my question about how I should feel about Lizzie’s outburst is answered when Lizzie asks her father, “Do you think I’m broken?” She’s scared; she thinks there’s something wrong with her. She doesn’t act the way her sister acts. Ric blames this on the Gemini Coven and says that Josie was unlikely in her own right by inheriting his family’s great fatal flaw of codependency.
Josie is is empathetic and wants everyone to be okay. She’ll do anything to ensure that, including stepping back from the guy (Rafael) she likes for her sister to the get the shot she deserves. Josie knows that Lizzie feels like second best, so she steps back. Even though Rafael and Josie bonded over having a broken heart and there seemed to be a spark, Josie knew it wouldn’t work when her sister admitted that she wished Rafael would give her another chance. You can actually see the sparkle leave her eyes. Josie wears her feelings on her sleeve, which makes it even more poetic that she lit her ex-girlfriend Penelope Park’s sleeve on fire after learning she had made out with M.G.
Sibling relationships are some of my absolute favorites. I love watching how the dynamics change as the bonds strengthen or fray between a pair or more of siblings. Sisterhood is a strength unlike any other, so I’m hoping Josie and Lizzie learn to communicate with each other better. I would hate for their sisterhood to seriously suffer if they don’t. Either way, I’m excited to see how Josie and Lizzie’s relationship evolves throughout the series.
This is the biggest question the premiere left viewers with and I don’t think the answer is going to be as simple as the supernatural creatures we have come to know and love. If Landon isn’t some shady human stealing a very old and powerful knife for an even more powerful and terrifying supernatural figure, then he has to be a supernatural creature. Ric is convinced that Landon pretended to have his mind wiped because he never went home like he was compelled by M.G. to do. In Ric’s mind, there is no other reason for those things than Landon being some type of supernatural being. Hope doesn’t want to believe that. She wants to believe that one person is real and true in her life. However, the incinerated corpses on the bus that do not include Landon Kirby seem to force Hope to agree with Ric. In a powerful closing statement Hope says, “Turns out, Landon isn’t the hero of my story. But when I hunt him down, I’m going to be the villain of his.”
Other Spelltacular Moments:
- Alaric Saltzman went from Mr. Saltzman to Professor Saltzman. Now he is Dr. Saltzman. I’m so proud!
- The Stefan Salvatore Memorial Library. Yeah, I’m still crying about that one.
- The chapter in Ric’s book about Mystic Falls titled “Klaus Mikaelson: The Great Evil”
- Lizzie calling Penelope “The Dark Lord.” There are so many Harry Potter references in this episode. I love it.
- Hope mentioning that she has attended the school since she was 7 was a great callback to The Originals.
- The soccer/football/Quidditch tribrid game called Wickery that Lizzie noted her parents made up when her and Josie were 10 is the only relative mention of Caroline Forbes in the episode.
- Matt using the excuse of a chemical spill for the indescribable event on the bus is a classic move from The Vampire Diaries. There were so many “gas leaks” and “chemical spills” in Mystic Falls that it wasn’t even shocking anymore.
Watch Legacies Thursdays at 9:00pm on The CW!